The Dutchman’s absence last season was widely discussed and analysed, a key pillar of Jurgen Klopp‘s side forced out of the team onto the long-term injury list.
What followed was a centre-back crisis of epic proportions, with 20 different combinations making Liverpool‘s achievement of finishing into the top four all the more impressive.
Question marks were then placed next to his name on his return from his ACL injury, will he ever be the same? Can he still be the world’s best in his position?
And Van Dijk has answered those emphatically, with his latest performance in opposition to Romelu Lukaku an assured and dominant one that helped Liverpool to a 1-1 draw.
And he is now just one game away from an Anfield unbeaten run of 50 league games, with the draw against the Blues making it 49 appearances without defeat at Anfield, 43 of which have been victories and six draws.
It’s an incredible return that highlights just how imperious and transformational Van Dijk has been, with the Reds having lost six of the 17 home league games the No. 4 has missed since his debut.
The opportunity to make it 50 unbeaten will arrive after the second game following the international break, with Crystal Palace the visitors on September 18.
The 30-year-old has been nothing short of exemplary and he certainly feels at home at Anfield and it will be just that for many years to come after signing a new contract until 2025.
Van Dijk is also one of only 25 Reds since 1990 to score on their Anfield debut, so he truly did start as he meant to go on.